Your destination. Eventually.
As August drags on and college gets closer, remember that this is a transition for the whole family. But mostly, it’s a transition for you, and four years of Party Central for him. Here are some fresh new ways to tackle this age-old rite of passage.
- Waste your money on a few last-minute motivational plaques that he will never look at.
Vandals will soon replace the second verb anyway.
- Refer to move-in day as “Doomsday.” Include it on your calendar, preferably written in tear-stained black letters.
- For extra drama, take up a few old-fashioned mourning rituals before your child leaves. Send all your friends black-edged photos of your kid. Wear a black armband. Better yet, put on sackcloth and ashes and stand in the town square rending them.
Yep, that’s you.
- Film yourself blubbering incoherently and post on any social media that your child has a chance of seeing.
- Use this time to reflect on what’s really important, i.e. knowing that the privilege of plastering your kid’s college decal on your car will cost you more than all the cars you’ve ever owned put together.
That’s one expensive decal.
- Sneak a favorite sibling into your kid’s luggage as a quick pick-me-up when homesickness strikes.
Just like home.
- In the car, ask tearfully if he wants to play the license plate game, “one last time.”
- On campus, be sympathetic to other parents going through a tough time. A good ice-breaker: “Isn’t it terrific that the college doesn’t hold felony convictions against freshmen?”
- Adopt a spirit of friendly competition. Challenge the parents of your kid’s roommate to a series of zany activities, including competitive bed-making, clothes hanger bingo, and who can say, “Wow, this dorm is way cooler than anything we had,” more convincingly.
Ready, set, hang!
- When you hug your child goodbye, whisper “You’re dead to me” in his ear.
- The second you get home, post 10,000 baby pictures on social media. It will be like he never left.
Because this is how you still see your college kid.
By Charlotte Latvala
The ivy halls beckon.
Let’s face it: At 50, we barely remember why we chose the college we did. Maybe we randomly picked a school close to home, or gravitated to the university where our current girlfriend/boyfriend was headed. If our parents were involved, it was only to co-sign the student loans.
The expectations are different today. Your child’s success, after all, is your success, and nothing is more important than shoving your kid vigorously in the right direction. Here’s a little road map to help:
- Tell him if he doesn’t attend the college of your choice, he’s out of the will.
- When he reminds you that your net worth is basically whatever your old Pink Floyd albums would fetch on eBay, throw darts at a map until one lands on a college town. Announce, in your best Christopher Lee voice, “Then Fate has sealed your decision.”
The enemy approaches, and it is the first tuition payment.
- Add some clarity by repeating “This is the MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF YOUR LIFE” on an hourly basis as your kid pours over college brochures and web sites.
- Keep the mood light by saying, “No pressure now!” disregarding the fact that you’ve compared him to an overachieving sibling for the past four years.
- When consulting with high school guidance counselors, use the royal “we.” (Caveat: You should only do this if you have a superstar child you enjoy taking full credit for.)
We’re gloating over our good grades!
- Spend thousands of dollars on SAT prep classes so your child can test higher than his actual ability and make it into a college he isn’t prepared for. (Later, complain bitterly when he drops out.)
- Insist that he visit your alma mater. Tell long, pointless stories of your undergrad hi-jinks, culminating in a bawdy tale involving a freezing cold night, minimal clothing, and a cafeteria tray.
What tales this piece of molded plastic could tell!
- Ask the tour guide embarrassing personal questions. Repeatedly reference beer pong to show how hip you still are. Ask loudly, “Was that a guy or a girl?” whenever a student with a man bun walks by.
Explain yourself, bun-man!
- Elbow the other parents on the tour and say “Well, we didn’t have THAT in the eighties if you know what I mean!” (You don’t actually mean anything but this is a wonderful ploy to get your child to walk quickly away from you and finish a tiresome tour in a hurry.)
- Back at home, repeatedly call the admissions office to ask if your kid is “blowing everyone else out of the water.”
- Once he gets into school – any school – hold a bonfire and burn all the college brochures that accumulated in the past year. Trust us, you won’t want to relive any of this.
Ring of College Fire.